Renault-Nissan Alliance Plans a Driverless Ridehailing Service

Automakers are looking to additional revenue streams as the future of mobility continuously shifts into a shared, connected, and autonomous model; Renault-Nissan Alliance is not an exception.

The Alliance, which is a strategic partnership since 1999 between Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Renault SA, includes Nissan and Renault brands, as well as Infiniti and Mitsubishi. The Alliance will begin self-driving services based on its electric cars “certainly within 10 years,” though not likely before 2020, Ogi Redzic, head of Renault-Nissan’s connected vehicles and mobility services division, reportedly said. But that’s not all the Alliance is doing within the mobility space, Catherine Loubier, Alliance communication global director, told Mobility Finance.

“Right now the Alliance is engaging with consumer mobility potential partners, public transit mobility partners, and delivery of goods partners,” she said, adding, “We are not ruling out anything.”

For instance, earlier this year the Alliance partnered with Transdev to explore mobility platform management systems for public and on-demand transportation, as well as with Japanese internet company DeNA to begin tests in Japan to develop driverless vehicles for commercial services, Loubier said, adding, “At this stage, it’s about developing those systems and testing and exploring,” and that there are no concrete plans for deployment yet.

The impact that a ridehailing service might have on the Alliance’s automotive captive, RCI Banque could not be discussed in detail at this time, but with the ride-hailing industry estimated to reach $285 billion by 2030, and overall loan volume — and its associated revenue — expected to decline dramatically, almost all automakers have been looking at the various ways they can tap into the new mobility ecosystem, including launching their own ridehailing or subscription-based services.

Therefore it is unsurprising that Renault-Nissan Alliance plans to begin its own, but because it is far from the first company to look into launching a ridehailing service, it may be harder to capture market share. BMW and Daimler are both working on autonomous vehicles for car-sharing and ridehailing services, as is Tesla, Lyft, Waymo, General Motors, and pretty much every mobility company on the market to a certain extent. But a lack of current presence does not mean the Alliance is behind, Loubier said.

“We are not at all late when you look at the overall auto industry…we are definitely strongly engaged in developing those solutions,” she said adding that it is a complex process but the public, “Can expect more on this in the coming months and years, including other aspects of connectivity,” including the unveiling of new products and partnerships.

The Alliance serves as a means of joint research and testing across brands, as well as cross-production. Each brand can choose what technologies to develop out of the Alliance; for instance, autonomous technology is something that is shared across the Alliance, and Nissan has already launched its semi-autonomous driving system, ProPilot, out of that research — but not all brands have access to ProPilot, Loubier said.

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